UPDATE 12:12 am: Petty has died, according to his manager.
Earlier today, it was reported by CBS and Variety that Tom Petty, iconic rock singer-songwriter and bandleader, had died at the age of 66. Petty was rushed to the hospital after being found not breathing and in cardiac arrest on Sunday, according to TMZ. TMZ later updated to say that brain activity had ceased when Petty was taken to the hospital, and that decision was then made to pull life support, but that he still remains “clinging to life.” Now, CBS has retracted its earlier report, which was then-confirmed by the Los Angeles Police Department.
The Los Angeles Police Department says it inadvertently confirmed news of Petty’s death to CBS. “The LAPD has no information about the passing of singer Tom Petty,” it said. The LAPD’s confirmation to CBS was the most widely-shared report of Petty’s death.
Petty became famous through his work with his solo band the Heartbreakers, after beginning his music career in earnest in the mid-1970s with his band Mudcrutch. His first hit single was 1977’s “Breakdown,” and the Heartbreakers’ third album, 1979’s Damn the Torpedos would be his first to go platinum, including the group’s first Top 10 single “Don’t Do Me Like That.” Petty would find his greatest commercial success in the 1980s and 1990s, racking up 10 more Top 40 hits as a soloist and with the Heartbreakers. He became a fixture on MTV as a music video artist with high-concept clips for singles like “Don’t Come Across Here No More,” “You Got Lucky,” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” Notably, he joined the rock supergroup The Traveling Wilburys, with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne, in the late 1980s, with whom he recorded two albums. He remained active with the Heartbreakers through the 2000s, during which time he also reunited with Mudcrutch, with whom he recorded two albums, 2008’s self-titled LP and last year’s 2, which was Petty’s most recent studio release.
Petty had numerous Top 10 albums, and stands as one of the bestselling rock artists of all time. Along with the Heartbreakers, he was inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty was frequently touring and known for his skills as a live performer, and wrapped a 40th anniversary tour with the Heartbreaks at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles in late September. In a statement to Rolling Stone last year, Petty clarified that the tour “might be [his] last big one.”